The kids at Canarsie’s PS-IS 109 have more to look forward to than an empty schoolyard and a few basketball hoops at recess — thanks to a $160,000 grant for a spectacular playground complete with slides, a rock wall, and even plastic palm trees — which officially opened on Oct. 17.
“There was nothing for the kids to do except run around,” said Margaret Graves, assistant principle at the school. “Now they can really have some fun.”
The school, which educates more than 500 students from grades K–8, had to compete with 18 other city schools for the grant, provided through the Hugh L Adams Charitable Trust.
The assistant principle, who wrote the proposal that would eventually transform the school’s playtime, said she hand-tailored the playground equipment for age-appropriate fun that would also allow limited handicapped access and equipment for children attending Public School P4, which serves disabled students out of the same E. 45th Street facility.
“There are several deaf children who go to the school, so we now have a wall that displays the alphabet in sign language,” said Graves.
Additionally, a low-to-the-ground playground appliance allowing kids to make music through a bell system was purchased with the grant money, giving wheelchair-bound children something to play with.
The playground is painted burgundy and yellow in imitation of the school’s colors — burgundy and gold — and the palm trees adorning the ramparts and towers are a special touch that Graves added in homage to the neighborhood’s Caribbean roots and her own love of the tropics.
“I love the palm trees,” said a laughing Graves.